Obama Comic Strip: Opportunity to Be Superman… or Sad Sack

Recently I find myself in a high state of discomfort when by chance or design I’m looking at the POTUS adorning the TV screen addressing issues which should be of concern to all of us here in the United States and, at times, people around the globe.  As I focus on his image and listen to Barack Obama, I cannot help but feel pity and disgust as I see before me an inglorious effigy of Sad Sack.

My introduction to this comic strip fictional character took place long after World War II but it did so, coincidentally, while I was in the military.  It was then that a fellow airman in my basic training flight, and a very talented caricaturist-cartoonist, embellished a few sections of my graduation book with caricature depictions of members in our training group.  According to later found experts, the drawings remarkably resembled the work of George Baker, the creator of Sad Sack when a sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.

Yesterday, as I dusted a few shelved printed mementos from the past, prior to boxing them for sentenced oblivion, I took what might well be a farewell look at my Air Force “book” and the 48 faces of comrades-in-training of Flight 131; their photos… and in many cases the character portrayals satirically caught by my talented friend. There were more than a few interesting characters as I scrutinized the decades-old pictures and, I must admit, one among them was the perfect Sad Sack.  It was the caricature of the tallest airman in our flight, possessing both the lean physical looks and the expression of President Barack Obama… with a circumflex of “sad-sackness” accentuating his face.  [Sad Sack, I had eventually learned, derived from military slang used during WWII: “sad sack of shit.”]

No matter the fabulist’s identity (Aesop, Phaedrus…) who said it first over two millennia ago, we are currently witnessing its greatest validation in international politics, and that is: Opportunity has hair in front but is bald behind. The meaning perhaps best explained in Rabelais’s Gargantua I, “Opportunity hath all her hair on her forehead; when she is past, you may not recall her.  She had no tuft whereby you can lay hold on her, for she is bald on the hinder part of her head, and never returned again.” 

An opportunity was gifted to Barack Obama that either he failed to recognize, or was cowed into dismissing it by the powers that rule Washington.  In either case, peacemakers and historians will in time denounce the incredible blunder committed by this man… where poor decision-making and lack of leadership has taken him from attaining possible Superman stature, not just in America but around the world, to that reserved for the Sad Sack cartoon character: an inept person who causes feelings of pity, disgust, or both.  And that opportunity, Mr. Obama will soon realize, has passed him by… and that in the world we live, there’s no time-travel… only different grades of regret.

And what was that opportunity, so fleeting and consequential?  In my view, extending a hand of collaboration to the man from Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin, was the one and only requirement to start building a foundation for international peace. Solutions to the impasse in the Middle-East – Palestine-Israel, Iran and Syria – could have been reached with the unprejudiced support of a joint US-Russia effort; an effort that all parties could have viewed as reasonable and impartial.

However, that opportunity could have only been taken by someone with both vision and wisdom, a true leader able to navigate the deep and troubled seas of a well-entrenched fascism.  And those are the seas that Obama had to navigate… amid the high waves of a CIA, a Pentagon and a foreign service, all highly influenced, if not already in the hands, of ideologue neocons… neo-Nazis with swastikas stamped with the stars and stripes.

Yes, Putin would have required détente in our encroachment of geo-political Russia, a reasonable request.  But instead, Obama consented to send the empire’s armada of troublemakers to create chaos in the Ukraine… Foul-and-Loud-Mouth Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and credentialed neocon, made it clear to the world where the US stood.  Instead of extending a hand, and help create a dignified legacy for his period in the Presidency, Obama has reaffirmed to many of us his position as the quintessential Sad Sack.

Meantime here in the United States, throughout the corporate media, all we get is an incessant barrage of anti-Russia and anti-Putin obscene propaganda… laughable if not for being so venomous to both our nation and our psyche as peace-loving Americans.